Cristiano Ronaldo is still not totally happy at Madrid, and is closer to leaving at the end of the season than to signing a new contract. He's tired of playing the bad guy in the blockbuster that is Spanish football, and watching on as nobody at Madrid (except Mou) protects him from the abuse of people outside the club. While Barça has a structure to promote and safeguard Messi, Madrid react with complete passivity in the face of attacks on the Portuguese. The most recent case involved the aggression of David Navarro, which left the star needing six stitches.
Instead of taking action in the matter to condemn the roughness that Cristiano was subject to, and calling for more protection from referees (as Barcelona did with Messi), the club released a statement to protect Pepe's image after his altercation with Ballesteros.
The Portuguese is also annoyed that he didn't feature amongst the LFP's pick of last season's players. Cristiano doesn't see how he missed out on an award from them, after scoring 46 goals and being the most vital player in the Liga. It's something he attributes to Madrid's lack of effort with the institutions in Spanish football.
He set alarm bells ringing after the league match against Granada, when he didn't celebrate any of the three goals he scored. Minutes after the final whistle, he admitted he was "sad" and revealed that "the club already knows", for which reason he had chatted to Florentino Pérez the day before. The catalyst for these declarations came a few days before in Monaco, at the UEFA awards ceremony. The forward saw first-hand the differences between the structures at Madrid and Barça. He travelled there with the club's third vice-president, Pedro López and Emilio Butragueño; meanwhile, Barcelona put the entire weight of their media machine into motion, and had Messi accompanied by the president Sandro Rosell.
Barça's sway is so big that things like Messi's punch to Celtic's Jonathan Villa a few days ago or his argument with Villa are seen as mere details. For months now, Madrid have been planning to offer their star an improved contract at the end of the season. But Cristiano has already said that his sadness "isn't about economic matters." The best evidence of that is his willingness to reject that salary increase and ask to leave the club.
He also misses Manchester United. "Ferguson is a fantastic person; human. He's like a father in football. He showed me many things. I really miss him because I have a great relationship with him", affirmed the number '7' in an interview with CNN.
Warning. One evening in the summer of 2008, Ferguson caught a flight from Manchester to meet Cristiano in Lisbon and try to convince him that he was making a mistake signing for Madrid. The star looked the Scot in the eyes and was unshakeable in his belief that he wanted the change. A year later, he fulfilled the dream of putting on a Madrid shirt. He was happy. But three years later, he misses the respect he was treated with at United and in the Premier League. It wasn't for nothing that in the Red Devils' last Champions League match in Braga, his name rang around the ground.
Cristiano doesn't complain about the Madrid fans, though. He feels backed by the stands at the Bernabéu, despite the fact he's had to work to earn recognition. Today he feels their love.